The owner of London Southend Airport confirmed today it was considering a number of options in a potential deal with regional airline Flybe, including a takeover approach.
The firm said today a number of possible structures have been considered, including “a non-controlling interest in a vehicle to acquire 100 per cent of Flybe” after shares in the airline soared on reports from Reuters of a prospective deal. They were up 36 per cent this afternoon.
In a statement this afternoon, the board of Stobart Group said:
Stobart Group and Flybe have a range of shared interests arising from Stobart Group’s ownership of London Southend Airport and its aircraft leasing company and the growing franchise arrangements between the two groups’ airlines.
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The company has been reviewing alternative structures for its airline and leasing business that can play “an important part” in the consolidation of the regional airline sector.
Stobart, which bought London Southend Airport in 2008, added that it was too early to say whether a transaction will take place, or indeed, whether a firm proposal will be made.
“A further announcement will be made in due course,” the firm added.
In November, the airline reported a drop of nearly 50 per cent in profits in its first-half results, after previously warning profits would be lower than expected. Flybe has pledged to work at keeping costs down, trimming its fleet size and focusing resources on fewer, more profitable routes.
London Southend Airport meanwhile, said last month it had recorded a 25 per cent rise in passenger numbers last year, and has plans in the works to extend its terminal building. It has also opened a new private jet centre which plans to cater for 5,000 flights a year by 2022.
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